FARMINGTON It took nearly a half a century, but Bruce Summerhays finally owns a Utah Open trophy.
Summerhays had won virtually every golf tournament in Utah from the State Amateur to the Provo Open to the City Parks Open. He's also won three tournaments on the Champions Tour, where he has played for the past 14 years.
However, not until Sunday, at the ripe old age of 64, did Summerhays win his first Utah Open, shooting a 66 to finish at 198. And the elusive victory could hardly have come in more dramatic fashion.
First, at 64 Summerhays was the oldest player in the tournament by far. Second, he was playing at Oakridge Country Club, where he is a member, not far from his home. Third, he played stroke for stroke all day in the same group with his 29-year-old nephew, Boyd Summerhays, a veteran of the PGA and Nationwide tours. Fourth, after watching Boyd roll in a 20-foot birdie putt to force a playoff on the 18th hole, Bruce came back with a 6-foot birdie of his own on the first playoff hole to snatch the victory.
Wow, what a story.
"Winning the Utah Open is big for me," he said after being presented with the glass trophy and $20,000 check. "It's just astounding, really. I've been trying to do this forever. I've been trying to win the Utah Open since I was about 14 years old."
Summerhays had come close to winning several times with a bunch of top 10s and more than one finish in the top three. In fact, 31 years ago, he took a two-shot lead into the third round at the same Oakridge course, only to finish third behind Larry Webb.
This time, he held a one-shot lead over Boyd and Greg Bruckner going into the final round. And though he admitted to feeling nervous, perhaps because of the expectations from the home crowd, he came out on fire with birdies on the first four holes.
When Boyd rolled in a birdie putt at No. 9, he and his uncle were tied for the lead at 15-under par along with Roger Harrison, playing a group ahead.
Going into 18, Bruce was a shot ahead at 18-under par for the tourney and looked to have the victory after two-putting from 25 feet. However, Boyd had a 20-footer, and just like Bruce told the gallery next to the green, Boyd sank the putt, forcing a playoff.
Bruce hit one down the middle, but Boyd pulled his 2-iron into the trees on the left. He had no shot and got within 50 yards of the green and chipped within 20 feet. However, Bruce hit a beautiful draw that ended up 6 feet away.
Again Boyd drained the putt, for par, but Bruce rolled his in to end the drama.
"It would have been my fondest dream to have one of the kids to win it," Bruce said, referring to Boyd and his own son, Joseph, who tied for ninth, six strokes back. "But they know I'm never going to lay down if I have the opportunity to win."
For Boyd, it was his fourth playoff this summer and the third in a row he has lost. Last month he lost in a 4-way playoff at the Colorado Open and just last week, he lost in a 4-way playoff at the Salt Lake City Open to his cousin, Bruce's son, Joseph.
"It's going to happen if you get close a lot," Boyd said. "He was awesome. I gave him everything he could handle. I can't be disappointed with 67 being my worst score this week."
For Bruce Summerhays, Sunday's win was something he'll never forget.
"It was just an amazing day," he said.
OPEN NOTES: Tournament sponsor Siegfried & Jensen presented a check for $30,000 to the Special Olympics ... Harrison, a 35-year-old Salt Lake restaurant owner, tied for third with 2003 Utah Open winner Steve Friesen at 201 ... BYU golfer Nick Killpack won low amateur honors at 206 with a final-round 64 ... Defending champion Clay Ogden finished in a tie for fifth at 202 ... Former PGA Tour regular Jay Don Blake, the 1988 champion, shot a final-round 65 and finished eighth at 203.